When writer Doug Wagner and artist Daniel Hillyard created their series Plastic, they were pleased how well it turned out. But they were overwhelmed by the positive reactions the series received by critics and fans alike. So much so that they put out the sequel series, Vinyl earlier this year. Needless to say the reaction to it was also extremely positive. The necessity of producing the third book in the series was almost a given. But until then, they have combined their prodigious talents for another story, also set in their Plastic-verse. Narco is the result of their collaboration and is included along with a deluxe hardcover of the book that started it all, Plastic in their latest Kickstarter.

Because we never pass up an opportunity to talk to Doug and to find out about his new book with Daniel, we once again welcome Doug Wagner to GVN’s Talking Comics Interview.

Connecting with LinkedIn

GVN: Welcome back Doug. I always enjoy our conversations. Before I jump into your new Kickstarter, I want to wander off on tangent and talk about LinkedIn. Why, might you ask? Because I first read about your new Kickstarter project from your post on LinkedIn. In fact, our last interview for Vinyl came to fruition via our LinkedIn connection. What would you say have been the positives of using your LinkedIn connections to spread the good word and would you recommend it to other likewise creative talents?

DW: This is rooted in my corporate background. I still have lots of friends in the corporate world that aren’t fans of the traditional social media platforms. They prefer the more businesslike feel and approach of LinkedIn. Being a mix of right and left brained, I appreciate and respect that perspective. For me, the only way some of my friends and I will know what each other are up to is through LinkedIn, so I’ve kept that account active just for that reason.

I’ve also been lucky enough to make quite a few new contacts through LinkedIn that have been incredibly beneficial to me – TV, film, comics, investors, fans. If there are creatives out there not using it, I do think it’s an oversight on their part. I’ve found for business purposes it’s hands down the way to go. I mean, unless you’re just not that into meeting producers, directors, editors, and the like.

Introducing Narco

GVN: I totally agree. I have made quite a few connections that I might not have without LinkedIn. Including some writer guy named Doug Wagner. OK, enough free pub for LinkedIn. Let’s get to your new Kickstarter campaign. Which features a new hardcover, expanded edition of your iconic 2017 Image classic Plastic and your brand new OGN Narco. So let us start with the new addition to the Wagner/Hillyard family, Narco. Tell us a little about the book and what inspired you and Daniel to tell this story? (I must be honest. When I first saw the title, without knowing anything about it, I thought it was drug related. Now that I know what I know, I’m even more excited by the book).

DW: Yeah, we had way too many lengthy discussions about the title and had the concern that it may be perceived as a drug-related story, but we all just loved how well it fit. We kept it in absolute defiance of ourselves.

NARCO is about a narcoleptic who passes out whenever he gets too excited. This has understandably made him overly cautious and protective. When he’s framed for murder by a serial killer, he has no choice but to face his condition and the serial killer head on. I mean, if he wants to live.

Inspirations

The inspiration actually was handed down to us by Keven Gardner, President of 12-Gauge Comics. He had this idea a few years ago and really wanted Daniel and I to tackle it. We pitched two versions to him – one that was more of a Plastic/Vinyl insane horror fest or a Hitchcock REAR WINDOW/VERTIGO approach. Keven wanted us to chase the Hitchcock vibe. I won’t lie. Daniel and I both adore Hitchcock, so we were overjoyed at the chance to see if we could pull that off in comics.

It’s been such a wonderful experience to hack away at my version of Hitchcock. I’ve never been allowed to write this type of book before. The approach for me was just so different than anything I’ve attempted before. Daniel and I love how it’s turning out. We’ll just have to wait and see what others think.

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Broaching Narcolepsy

GVN: I have read a short preview of Narco and in just that short time, I have developed an affinity for your main man Marcus. (My wife has accused me of having Narcolepsy in the past…just because I fall asleep when she’s talking to me…So?!) Did you do any research into Narcolepsy, or did you create your own version of the condition in preparation for the story?

DW: Okay, I’m not touching the wife thing, dude. You’re on your own there. In regard to research, I spent days upon days reading about Narcolepsy. I kinda became obsessed with it all. It seems like every instance of the condition is peculiarly unique to each individual. Some people’s narcolepsy is triggered by different foods, particular colors, common sounds, pretty much anything you can imagine. Now all of that wasn’t particularly helpful in creating Marcus’ condition, but it was a joy to learn about. With Marcus, we kind of let the story mold what his triggers would be and how he managed them. The absolute bonkers thing about it is that after writing the first few chapters, I bumped into a guy with Marcus’ exact condition. I just stared at this poor guy for a few seconds wondering if Keven or Daniel were pranking me. I mean, come on!!

The Plastic-Verse

GVN: Probably wise that you chose not to engage about my wife. She’s feisty…but I digress. You have written Narco cohabitating the same universe as Plastic and Vinyl. Was that always the plan by Daniel and yourself or did the extraordinary success of the first two books in your series compel you to expand upon your now iconic serial killer landscape?

DW: You guessed correctly. It wasn’t the plan from the start, but after the success of PLASTIC and then VINYL, we realized NARCO should join in the fun. It fit in there perfectly but with a wonderfully different kind of style to it. Yes, the style and approach are drastically different that PLASTIC or VINYL, but Daniel and I have always loved when a universe has varying stylistic aspects to it. STAR WARS, STAR TREK, and even the MCU have all pulled that off. It’s become our LOKI, MANDLORIAN, and DISCOVERY. It’s a drastically different style that somehow fits so seamlessly into our Plastic-verse and in some way adds a new flavor profile to it all.

GVN: Speaking of the “Plastic-verse,” the other part of the Kickstarter book set is your deluxe hardcover edition of Plastic …. which I MUST have (so another Kickstarter book is in my future). While I know we have talked about Plastic in the past, for those who for some strange reason are unfamiliar, give us your best Doug Wagner synopsis of what fans will find in the book?

DW: This is typically an easy one. I rarely have to get past, “It’s about a ‘retired’ serial killer that’s in love with a blow-up doll.” People are either irresistibly drawn in or repulsively offended. For those that are now drawn in, someone kidnaps the blow-up doll and the only way the serial killer can “save” the love of his life is to awaken urges he’s kept leashed for years. It’s a dark comedy, horror, love story for those that don’t mind a twisted, disturbing vibe to it all.

Kickstarter Goodies

GVN: And if you haven’t checked it out, you REALLY need to fans. So we have Narco and Plastic (if that wasn’t enough), what other goodies will fans find on your Kickstarter page?

DW: Man, there’s all kinds of goodies on there. Of course, we’ve got the option of a softcover or hardcover NARCO and a limited-edition hardcover PLASTIC with an all-new 6-page story inside. We’ve also got print sets, metal bookmarks, metal card sets, and even a way to buy the VINYL Villain Variants with either card stock covers or metal covers. I gotta say if you haven’t seen the six-issue connecting covers that Daniel Hillyard created for this set you’re missing out. I’ve already put aside my copies so that I can have them all framed together.

GVN: Thanks for your time as always, Doug. Before I let you go, do you have any other projects upcoming you can talk about? Like perhaps the third book in your Textile themed Serial Killer Trilogy?

DW: Unfortunately, as you know, I can’t reveal too much at the moment. I do have two books slated through Image Comics for next year. One of those will most definitely be the third mini-series of our textile themed serial killer trilogy. I also have two other books planned for next year, but I can’t talk about those either. (Just so you know, it’s hard to not say something. It pains my soul.)

GVN: No worries, my friend. We know where to contact you when the time comes. In the meantime, you can check out Doug and Daniel’s Kickstarter Campaign here.

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